3 reasons to shred your documents
Shred your documents to protect your identity
Shredding documents may not seem like a priority; however, it is an important practice for several reasons.Protect your identity: Sensitive documents and mail that you put in the trash can leave you vulnerable to identity theft. Shredding documents that contain your confidential information is one easy way to protect yourself.
Business benefit: If you’re a business, shredding documents is an important way to protect your customers, employees, and ultimately yourself. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) provides guidelines on collection, use, and disposal of personal information and the responsibility to comply with these guidelines rests with business owners.
Anything that contains your personal information—particularly your name, address, phone number, or email address—should be shredded. How long you store documents depends on your unique situation and personal preferences, but here’s a general guideline for you to follow:
What should you shred?
Shred after seven years
Tax returns: The Canada Revenue Agency states that tax returns and supporting records must be held for a minimum of six years from the end of the tax year to which they relate. That means most people should hold their tax documents for a period of seven years to avoid accidental early destruction.
Any receipts that support your claim, including bank and credit card statements that you’ve provided as proof of business expenses or charitable donations, must also be retained for seven years.
Shred after one year
Bank and credit card statements: Printed statements can generally be shredded after one year.
Pay stubs: Hold your pay stubs for one year, so that you have an opportunity to verify against your T4.
Utility Bills: Unless you’re using them for tax purposes, one year should be sufficient for you to review your utility usage throughout the year.
Shred in less than one year
Voided cheques: Hold on to voided cheques until you’ve reviewed your statement or verified them online. If you’re using mobile deposit, we recommend holding your cheques for at least 120 days.
ATM receipts: These can be shredded after you’ve reconciled withdrawals and deposits with your bank statement.
Sales receipts: Some receipts you may wish to keep longer (for warranty purposes), but everyday receipts can be shredded once you’ve verified against your bank and credit card statements.
Old photo ID: Shred old photo ID as soon as it’s replaced.